Like many families, ours struggles with the insidious, addictive allure of electronic devices. Our smartphones are with us at all times. When we aren’t holding them, they sit within close reach so we don’t miss an incoming snap or text. Sometimes it seems we are connected to everything…except the people next to us.
This holiday season more than ever I am looking forward to spending quality time with my family. Two of my daughters are in college, so time at home with them is more precious than ever. I want to find a balance between healthy use of our devices, and quality time together. Here are three strategies I am going to try this holiday season.
Give the device a time-out
Electronic devices don’t care about you. They have no respect for family or mealtime or conversations with people in the room. They specialize in day-trading your attention. So this holiday season I am going to give my phone periodic timeouts during mealtime, game-time, and whenever there’s a great conversation going on. I am going to ask my family to do the same.
Do old fashioned things
Our devices want us to believe they can solve all our problems. Meanwhile we do less and less of the things that build relationships and enrich our minds. Like playing games, going for walks, reading a book, building something, talking about our life, cooking a meal together, doing a puzzle. This holiday season I want to spend more time doing old-fashioned things we will all remember far beyond that funny Youtube video that went viral.
Our devices have convinced us that boredom is the enemy. When I was a little kid growing up in Africa, I didn’t have many toys and I spent a lot of time outside. My mother recalls me complaining often about being bored. Without a box of chicken nuggets and a tablet in front of me, I had no option but to get creative and make magic with what I had around me. If we are patient, we often find some amazing things on the other side of boredom. This holiday season I am going to do more of nothing, rebuild my tolerance for boredom, and see what happens!
I’d love to hear from my readers. What are your tips for taking a digital holiday this year?
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